We at the office of Robert G. Spaugh, Attorney at Law have experience in a variety of legal areas, one of which is estate planning. For those who are not familiar with the term, estate planning refers to the process of preparing for the end of life, and it includes things like making a last will and testament to instruct your beneficiaries (and the court) on how to distribute your property after your passing.
Another key part of estate planning is making a living will, a legal document that expresses your wishes concerning your medical care in situations where you may not be able to give informed consent or make those wishes known. In this article, our team will provide more information about living wills to give you a better understanding of their purpose and how they work.
The Purpose of a Living Will
To put it simply, the purpose of a living will is to make sure your wishes concerning your medical treatment are known and respected, even if you cannot communicate them directly in the moment. Specifically, a living will is used to lay out which treatments you would and would not want to be used to keep you alive—for example, you can opt out of life support if you would rather go quickly and peacefully.
In addition, you can spell out your preferences for other types of medical decisions, such as whether you want to donate your organs after death. By making a living will, you can ensure that you will get the care you want no matter how extreme the situation, and you can spare your loved ones from having to make those hard decisions themselves.
How a Living Will Works
When you make a living will, you will sit down with your lawyer to discuss a number of possible end-of-life care decisions, such as whether you want to receive mechanical ventilation, dialysis, or even CPR. Once you have made your choices, your lawyer will draw up the document for you to sign. Then you will need to give copies to your doctor and your health care agent, among others. We also recommend that you discuss your decisions with your loved ones so that they know what to expect in a difficult situation.